I enjoyed a chamber music recital last evening. It opened with Bach’s 6th Brandenburg Concerto. Among other works, the program also included the Octet for Wind Instruments by Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971).
In an earlier post, I wrote about Bach’s unusual scoring in his final Brandenburg Concerto. Stravinsky’s scoring for his Octet was unusual as well: flute, clarinet in Bb and A, two bassoons, trumpet in C, trumpet in A, tenor trombone and bass trombone. The Octet is generally regarded as the start of neoclassicism in Stravinsky’s music; some even refer to it as Stravinsky’s attempts to go “Back to Bach.”
After the 1923 premiere of the Octet in Paris, reviews were mixed. However, following a later performance at the Salzburg Festival in 1924, one reviewer wrote that the Octet is “an ingenuity in counterpoint, a seventh Brandenburg Concerto.”